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Getting Stuff Done - Thomas Yassmin, PAC-12 Honor Roll

Thomas Yassmin

Above:  Tight end Thomas Yassmin, MStat '24, at play during Utah vs Weber State, September 2023.  Credit:  University of Utah

When Thomas Yassmin, MStat '24, was considering his post-high school options in Australia, he was approached by a university in the United States about playing American football.  From there, other schools began to recruit him as well.  After a visit to the University of Utah, he fell in love with the school and the football program, and before he knew it, he found himself in Utah.

As an undergraduate, Yassmin completed a double major in quantitative analysis of markets and organizations (QAMO) and mathematics with an emphasis in statistics.  This spring he graduated with a master's in statistics.  Balancing football and academics was challenging, but Yassmin performed this balancing act well, earning a spot on the PAC-12 Academic Honor Roll multiple times during his five years at the U.

Yassmin has advice for other students balancing busy schedules:  "You've just got to prioritize certain things.  There's a lot of sacrifices that have to be made.  Sometimes weekends are just not the weekends you want to have, or your friends ask you to come over and you just have to suck it up and put your head down for a couple hours and get your work done first before you do anything else.  Little things add up, an hour here, an hour there, dedicating times where it's undistracted work.  By the end of the week, it accumulates.  I think that's the thing, just sacrificing certain amounts of time to make sure you get your stuff done first."

Yassmin credits his parents with instilling in him the importance of academics.  Although he and his brothers are all very athletic, his parents still placed the emphasis on academics.  They told their sons that academics was the number one priority, sometimes not allowing them to play sports unless their studies were in line.  So, for Yassmin, making school a priority was something he learned at a young age and carried with him throughout his college career.

As an undergraduate, he chose to take Introduction to Data Science because it fulfilled a requirement for his major and was offered when he could take a class.  It turned out to be the most useful class he took, and he used what he learned in this class in each semester that followed as well as his master's project, "An analysis on classification Techniques in Predicting NBA games."

Yassmin was fortunate to have had some stellar professors, especially Lajos Horvath, from whom he took multiple classes, and Tom Alberts, his project advisor.   They understood his unique position and helped him navigate the balancing act between athletics and math.  Yassmin expressed that he probably wouldn't have made it through his MStat degree without them.

Thomas YassminCan lessons learned in football be applied to math and vice versa?  Yes!  Yassmin explains:  "The culture of football is all about hard work; it's all about sacrifices, doing what needs to be done, not what you want to do necessarily, so I think that carries over into my schoolwork.  For math applied to football, football is mentally a lot harder than you think, there's a lot of x's and o's.  We even have a statistician on our team that analyzes percentages, so I think it's actually really cool for me seeing it from that perspective.  When I'm doing film work and watching my opposition I'll look at the numbers.  So I think just looking at things with an analytical perspective definitely carries from math over to football."

His hard work and discipline paid off, and Yassmin recently signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos.

The Department of Mathematics wishes him an exciting football career.  Clearly, when the football season of his life is over, Yassmin will have the opportunity to put his data analysis skills to good use elsewhere.

by Angie Gardiner

Last Updated: 5/21/24